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Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3: Cole cruises toward Cy Young

Gerrit Cole spun another masterpiece and the Yankees avoided the sweep.

Gerrit Cole in the first inning tonight.
Gerrit Cole in the first inning tonight.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With a pair of one-run showings in the first two games of the series, the Yankees looked poised to be swept. But spurred by the presence of their ace and his flirtation with perfection, the Bombers bounced back, taking the last game of their second-to-last series at home 5-3.

The Yankees tripled their run total from last night in the first inning alone. DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres notched opposite-field singles, staying on a pair of sinkers, around an Aaron Judge strikeout. That’s when Jake Bauers, hitting cleanup despite going two for his last 38, unloaded on a sinker himself, depositing it into the second deck:

Berríos settled in after that, allowing just four more baserunners over the next 4.2 innings. On the night, he also struck out six without allowing a walk. But his final batter, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, ripped a double into left, ultimately scoring when Estevan Florial belted his own two-bagger down the right-field line off of reliever Tim Mayza to make it 4-0:

In the next frame, Mayza issued a one-out walk to LeMahieu before being lifted. LeMahieu then stole second off of Nate Pearson, enabling Judge to bring him home with a double, 113.5 mph off the bat:

The inning went quicker than it should have due to a pair of diving catches by Blue Jays’ outfielders. But the most impressive and impactful grab of the night didn’t come until the bottom of the eighth when George Springer laid out to rob LeMahieu with the bases full and one out:

But it didn’t matter; five runs were more than enough for Cole. The Yankees’ ace didn’t even allow a single baserunner until Alejandro Kirk doubled with one out in the sixth. That was one of just two baserunners on the night; the other, a Matt Chapman double, eventually came around to score on a wild pitch:

Though that slider got away from him, Cole had excellent feel for his breaking balls on the night. The slide-piece was especially crisp, notching 10 whiffs on 15 swings against it. The cutter also added four whiffs on eight swings while the knuckle curve — which averaged three inches of extra drop in the contest — added a pair of whiffs as well. That all amounted to eight innings of one-run ball with nine Ks against zero walks.

Even without his top velocity — he was down over a tick on the heater — Cole made an excellent case for the Cy Young tonight. He lines up for one more start this season, a rematch against the Jays in Toronto on Wednesday. If the Yankees are eliminated from the postseason by then, they might give him the choice to shut his season down early. He eclipsed the 200-inning mark and there aren’t any other major landmarks in sight, but knowing the competitor Cole is, it’s entirely possible we’ll see him again.

Clay Holmes came on to finish the game, allowing his requisite amount of traffic on the bases. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. even made a pinch-hit appearance despite some knee trouble, grounding into an RBI fielder’s choice thanks to a high throw from Torres:

The next hitter, Matt Chapman, reached thanks to Torres’ arm again, enabling another run to come home before Holmes shut the door on a 5-3 victory.

Up next is a three-game series against the Diamondbacks in the Bronx, concluding the Yankees’ final homestand of the season. Luke Weaver is set to square off against his former team in his second start for the Yankees; he’ll face rookie and former top-prospect Brandon Pfaadt. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm ET.

Box Score